Thursday, March 08, 2007

Wiki uses at Universities

Wikis, a popular Web 2.0 technology, are being implemented increasingly in higher education settings. Some universities have deployed a university-wide wiki while others have deployed department-specific wikis.

(Some of these wikis have been taken down - they existed at the time I wrote this post in March 2007). Some examples of universities in the USA that have deployed a wiki are: University of Southern California, Case Western Reserve University, Ohio State University, Stanford University, Brown University, Hampton University, University of Virginia , University of Florida, Yale University and University of Chicago . Some UK examples are: University of Bath and University of Wales. Wiki installations have been noted at these Canadian universities: University of Calgary, McGill University, Brock University, York University, Queen’s University, University of Toronto, University of Ottawa, Carleton University and McMaster University.

In general, these institutions are using wikis for these main purposes:
  • Manage communication for collaborative staff projects (i.e. Project Management)

  • Facilitate professional collaboration, and document authoring, online between staff and other professional colleagues inside and outside of the institution

  • Allow university-associated athletic clubs and student groups to have a user-editable web presence

  • Propagate community news

  • Allow academic classes to build a group wiki on a topic/idea

  • Allow groups of students to build a wiki for the creation of a shared academic deliverable (i.e. research projects, presentations, reports)

  • Manage and maintain documents online that need frequent updating such as SOPs, policy, procedure and orientation manuals

  • Allow front line workers to easily build online FAQs

  • Joint authoring and archiving of committee minutes

  • Collaborative website space for an academic/professional conference or meeting

My institution, RMC, could benefit from a wiki installation, as it would bring all the many above benefits to diverse facets of the RMC community: Academic Teaching, Research, Social and Administrative.

From a Course Design and Development (CDD) perspective at the Division of Continuing Studies, there could be many useful benefits to having an RMC-hosted wiki. Here are two examples:

Example #1: Pedagogical point of view

Some DCS courses offer students the option of using non-RMC hosted free wiki services to facilitate group collaboration in projects at a distance. At this time, no known hosted free wiki services can cross the PWGSC DWAN firewall. If RMC were to host a wiki, wiki software could be chosen that would be firewall-friendly, such as MediaWiki. The addition of a student-to-student, and/or student-to-instructor, collaborative tool such as a wiki would complement very well the WebCT and DNDLearn LMS functionalities currently at RMC, especially if it is compatible with the PWGSC DWAN firewall. Furthermore, wiki software could be deployed in both official languages.

Example #2: Staff productivity point of view

The Course Design and Development process at CDD operates under a project management framework and often has Course Development Teams with members that are geographically dispersed. A wiki would allow a team member-editable web space where project management and status information could be communicated and shared. This same wiki could also serve as the location for the joint creation of text-based documents by the Course Development Team. The built-in wiki functions of document change history (that identifies precisely the author of the change), and document recovery at any point in the editing of a page, would be powerful tools for accurate document version control in this group collaboration.



Anonymous said...

Talk to me about the CDA wiki option - we have an instance of mediawiki that works on both DWAN and WWW.


Jess Doyle said...

our university in sydney, australia, is teaching education students how to wiki, here is our first attempt...